The Crown Cast: Season 1 to season 5 actor guide and where you've seen them before

The who's who of every season so far

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown and Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown on Netflix
(Image credit: Landmark Media/ TCD/Prod.DB/Alamy/Future)

A rundown of The Crown cast - from the astonishing portrayals of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip throughout the ages, to the supporting cast members bringing the monarchy to life on screen. 

There has been a surge of interest in Netflix smash hit The Crown, following the sad death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll. The critically acclaimed series has shot back into the streamer’s top 10, as the public regains intrigue surrounding the life of the Monarch through the ages - as portrayed so carefully in the historical drama. Each series covers approximately 10 years in the life and challenges of the Royal family, with cast members changing to portray the appropriate age of each member. Here is your guide to who played Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip for each series, and a reminder of the cast members supporting them so brilliantly. 

Viewers anxious for the latest instalment of the series don’t have long to wait, with Netflix recently dropping The Crown season 5 trailer and The Crown season 5 release date. We've revealed details of where The Crown was filmed season by season - including the upcoming series 5. Plus, whether The Queen watched The Crown, plus other Royal Family members who have allegedly tuned into the show.

The Crown Cast: Season 1 to season 5 actors

Who played Queen Elizabeth in seasons 1 and 2 of The Crown?

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth and Jared Harris as King George in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

British actress Claire Foy played Queen Elizabeth in The Crown seasons 1 and 2. The 38-year-old was best known for the role of Anne Boleyn in the 2015 BBC miniseries Wolf Hall - being nominated for a British Academy Television Award for Best Actress for the portrayal. 

The role of Queen Elizabeth catapulted her to international stardom. Speaking to Vogue about landing the part of the esteemed and longest serving Monarch, Foy described how her feelings were mixed. Having auditioned while visibly pregnant, the actress said "I was really, really pleased. I was pregnant at the time, so it was sort of tainted. My response to it wasn’t 'Woo-hoo!' It was more like, 'Oh, my God, I’m going to have a baby three months before rehearsing this. I’m not sure what state I’m going to be in.'" 

Having to thoroughly research the life of the Monarch in preparation for the role, Foy also spoke about the one thing that surprised her the most during the research process - how she actually came to be on the throne. 

Foy said: "I think it was the fact that I never really considered how she came to the throne at all. I just always accepted the fact that she had always been there my entire life. So it’s that thing where you have to take a step back and think, Okay, let’s have a little look, and then you start realizing all the things you never really considered. She was a 25-year-old woman with two children and a husband, and she thought she had another 25 to 30 years to go. 

Foy concluded: "I think it’s easy to put [the royal family] on a pedestal, or lambast them and think they’ve got loads of money and houses. It’s easy to do that and turn them into something disconnected, but it’s not easy to look at them on a human level because it takes a huge amount of compassion and sympathy. But I think it’s worth doing, because I think they’re an amazing family". 

Who played Prince Philip in seasons 1 and 2 of The Crown?

Matt Smith as Prince Philip in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

British actor Matt Smith played Prince Phillip in the first two seasons of The Crown. The 39-year-old came to public attention as the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor in the long-running Doctor Who series. 

Smith spoke to Esquire about the sacrifices Prince Philip made when he became a member of the British Royal family. He said "He gave up everything, literally everything, that made him a man. He had such a wonderful naval career, and for that to be taken away from him, and then to have to walk two steps behind his wife in public for the whole of his life - but he has a lion’s pride about him, so there were a lot of very interesting conflicts to play".

Smith continued to say he saw the Prince as "an alien in the royal house". By this, he was alluding to Philip's heritage - being born to the Greek and Danish monarchies. He spoke of the alleged struggles the Prince experienced, under constant scrutiny and adapting to British Royal Family customs. Smith felt this made Philip a sympathetic and relatable figure to audiences of The Crown

The Crown seasons 1 and 2: Supporting cast members

  • Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret
  • Jared Harris as King George VI
  • John Lithgow as Winston Churchill
  • Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary
  • Jeremy Northam as Anthony Eden
  • Victoria Hamilton as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
  • Ben Miles as Group Captain Peter Townsend,
  • Greg Wise as Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
  • Alex Jennings as The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII
  • Lia Williams as Wallis, Duchess of Windsor
  • Anton Lesser as Harold Macmillan
  • Matthew Goode as Tony Armstrong-Jones
  • John Heffernan as Lord Altrincham
  • Gemma Whelan as Patricia Campbell
  • Paul Sparks as Billy Graham
  • Michael C. Hall as John F. Kennedy
  • Jodi Balfour as Jackie Kennedy
  • Burghart Klaußner as Dr Kurt Hahn
  • Finn Elliot as school-aged Prince Philip
  • Julian Baring as school-aged Prince Charles

Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Jared Harris as King George, Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, and Eileen Atkins as The Queen Mother in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

Who played Queen Elizabeth in seasons 3 and 4 of The Crown?

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

British actress Olivia Colman played Queen Elizabeth in The Crown season 3 and season 4. The 48-year-old has a long and distinguished acting career, and was already known for a range of both comedy and dramatic roles in film and television prior to being cast in The Crown

She has been the recipient of numerous awards and nominations, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, 3 British Academy Television Awards, and 3 Golden Globe awards.

Colman spoke to Insider at the time of her portrayal of the Queen, discussing the difficulties of the role. She said the role was tricky because "behind closed doors, we don't know what she's like". She continued to speak of her relief at leaving the role behind, adding "But definitely … the hardest part I've done is someone who's real. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm quite pleased now to be able to move on to something else".

On the volatile nature of the acting profession, Colman did speak of appreciation for the two years of employment the show gave her. She added this security was "a lovely feeling because I still get the fear that it's not going to happen again."

Who played Prince Philip in seasons 3 and 4 of The Crown?

Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

British actor Tobias Menzies played Prince Philip in seasons 3 and 4 of The Crown. The 48-year-old was known to audiences before his appearance on The Crown, for the roles of Frank and Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall in STARZ's Outlander series, Brutus in HBO's Rome, and Edmure Tully in HBO's Game of Thrones

His theatre career is also extensive, and diverse. Speaking to The Guardian, Menzies spoke of Philip’s “contradictory nature” that fascinated him and drew him to the role. 

He went on to say: "There’s a lot of different forces at play within him. He was someone who was very wary to show his feelings, and yet, atmospherically, he’s not a cool presence, he’s quite hot … He’s abrasive. He’s challenging. He’s funny. But there’s an energy about it: it’s not calm, it’s not gentle. And those things seem to be kind of warring inside him. And so, actually, for someone who doesn’t want to give much away, he often feels like he is giving quite a lot of way".

Speaking of his admiration for the Prince, he said "For someone who clearly was not comfortable with [the role], he managed to do it with quite a high degree of dignity and patience". 

He concluded "He was partly involved in the transition from an aristocratic family to one that was marked by largely middle-class values. He helped to open it up and, to a certain degree, demystify a lot of the stuff that was going on, and modernise it".

The Crown season 3 & 4: Supporting cast

  • Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
  • Ben Daniels as Tony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon
  • Jason Watkins as Prime Minister Harold Wilson
  • Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher (season 4 only)
  • Marion Bailey (Obsession) as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
  • Erin Doherty as Princess Anne
  • Charles Dance as Louis Mountbatten
  • Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles
  • Emma Corrin as Princess Diana (season 4 only)
  • Clancy Brown as Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Jane Lapotaire as Princess Alice
  • Mark Lewis Jones as Edward Millward
  • Tim McMullan as Robin Woods
  • Derek Jacobi as The Duke of Windsor
  • Geraldine Chaplin as The Duchess of Windsor
  • Michael Maloney as Prime Minister Edward Heath
  • Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles (nee Shand)
  • Andrew Buchan as Andrew Parker Bowles
  • Harry Treadaway as Roddy Llewellyn

Ben Daniels as Anthony Armstrong-Jones and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

Who will play Queen Elizabeth in season 5 of The Crown?

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

British actor Imelda Staunton CBE will play Queen Elizabeth in season 5 of The Crown. The 66-year-old is another in a line of distinguished actresses to land a role in The Crown.  She began her theatre career in 1976, and has appeared extensively across theatre, film, and television since. 

She has won 4 Laurence Olivier Awards, and nominated for 13 more. She is best known to television audiences for the role of Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter films The Order of the Phoenix and The Deathly Hallows - Part 1

People reported that Staunton had spoken of the "extra challenge" that comes with playing a more contemporary version of the Queen. She said "I think my sort of extra challenge, as if I needed it, is that I’m now doing the Queen that we’re a little more familiar with." 

She continued: "With Claire Foy, it was almost history and now I’m playing one that people could say 'she doesn’t do that,' 'she’s not like that,' and that’s my personal bête noire".

On whether the show should add a fictional disclaimer at the beginning, Staunton had the view "I think that is up to producers and directors. This isn’t verbatim; this isn’t taken from diaries. You’ve got to use your imagination, and I’d like to allow the audience a bit of intelligence. You can’t know that’s what Margaret and Elizabeth were talking about". Netflix has since reported they have no plans to add a disclaimer.

Who will play Prince Philip in season 5 of The Crown?

Actor Jonathan Pryce

(Image credit: ZUMA Press Inc/Alamy)

Sir Jonathan Pryce CBE will play Prince Philip in season 5 of The Crown. The 75-year-old is also well known for his stage, television, and film performances. He is the recipient of 2 Tony Awards and 2 Laurence Olivier Awards, and was knighted in 2021 for his services to drama. 

Audiences will recognise him as Thomas Wolsey in the BBC series Wolf Hall, and as the High Sparrow in HBO's Game of Thrones. He was also nominated for an Oscar for his role as Pope Francis in The Two Popes alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins. 

People reported that Pryce spoke of his delight at taking on the role. He said "I am delighted to be working with Netflix again. The positive experience I had making The Two Popes has given me the confidence to tackle the daunting prospect of portraying Prince Philip". 

He continued to heap praise on the co-stars he'd be working with on the show, adding "To be doing so with Peter Morgan in the company of Imelda [Staunton] and Lesley [Manville] will be a joy".

The Crown season 5: Supporting cast

  • Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
  • Jonny Lee Miller as John Major
  • Dominic West as Prince Charles
  • Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales
  • Flora Montgomery as Norma Major
  • Marcia Warren as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
  • Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles
  • Claudia Harrison as Princess Anne
  • James Murray as Prince Andrew
  • Emma Laird Craig as Sarah, Duchess of York
  • Sam Woolf as Prince Edward
  • Andrew Havill as Robert Fellowes
  • Natascha McElhone as Penelope Knatchbull
  • Senan West as Prince William of Wales
  • Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed
  • Salim Daw as Mohamed Al-Fayed
  • Amir El-Masry as young Mohamed Al-Fayed
  • Bertie Carvel as Tony Blair
  • Prasanna Puwanarajah as Martin Bashir
  • Timothy Dalton as Peter Townsend
  • Humayun Saeed as Dr. Hasnat Khan
  • Lydia Leonard as Cherie Blair
  • Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu as Monique Ritz

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Lucy Wigley
TV writer - contributing

Lucy is a multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ experience writing about entertainment, parenting and family life. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and telling you why you should watch them.